Tap Gun

The development blawgh of Önders et Gonas

Open Source at ÖeG

Around 2009 when ÖeG was doing client work we had an internal library of useful stuff called “libogen” that we had intentions of open sourcing, but it never happened unfortunately. I think it may have come down to a political discussion where Gonas is part Finnish, has a good memory and is firmly against communism. I don’t even remember what code was in there but it’s probably outdated by now.

Instead I hereby present OEGParseBackedModel, a small class that we use internally together with Parse, a backend as a service provider. Make your model classes subclass OEGParseBackedModel and define properties, and they will be mapped to a PFObject and stored on the backend. Useful for when you want to add other methods, validations, etc. to your Parse models.

Maybe this will start a tradition where we will release more useful stuff on GitHub, or maybe we won’t get around to that and we’ll just have a really lame looking GitHub account with one tiny project. We don’t care.

Parse

We’ve been using Parse for prototyping a couple of apps so far. A lot of apps use Parse in production, but for us it usually becomes more work to try and frame our features within the framework than just writing our own backend after a while. They iterate at a great pace though, and it’s exciting to see what they come up with next.

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Status Report

Status Report screenshotSay hello to our latest app! Status Report is a combined client for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Foursquare (so far) that mixes all of your feeds into one grand unified feed. It also combines mirrored updates into one, for when someone mirrors their Twitter posts into their Facebook stream, or tweets every Instagram shot and you follow them on both services.

It also has support for liking, commenting, retweeting, favoriting etc. depending on the service the update comes from. You can also write new status updates and choose which of your connected services you want to send them from.

When following links you can save them to Instapaper for later reading regardless of which service the link was posted to.

I can’t even remember what life was like before this app when I had to tap through a whole bunch of different apps several times a day just to get the lay of the land. It has totally changed my life, maybe it will change yours too! It’s just 99 cents on the App Store so give it a try and tell us what you think 😀

ÖeG Kidz

Kidz in space

What’s going on in the world of ÖeG lately? Well Gonas has become too old for music festivals and startups but we’re still going strong anyway. Mia’s undying love for intuitive interaction and my obsession for nerdy stuff continues to breed new apps for your enjoyment. Or your kid’s enjoyment if you have one. Yup, ÖeG has gone pedagogical and I’m announcing the results here on the blawgh today! Actually we released these apps months ago but I haven’t written about them on the blog yet, for the simple reason most parents and 3-year olds don’t read blogs. But then I thought, hey even if you don’t have kids you may be interested in the fact that we are still alive, kicking and making awesome apps. Anyway here they are:

Kids ABC

Kids ABC screenshot

A simple educational app/game for iPad and iPhone where kids can learn the names of animals. Available in English and Swedish. A fairly big update is almost ready and will be released soon!

Who was it?

Who was it? screenshot

Similar app for iPad and iPhone where you learn to recognize the droppings and tracks of different animals. Also available in English and Swedish.

In the next few days we will reveal an entirely different (non-kidz) app which is currently in closed beta testing! Stay tuned and support the troops.

Math21

Math21 screenshot

Behold our latest game! Math21 is a crazy addictive card game where you use your huge brain to combine five cards and reach 21. The game uses OpenFeint for leaderboards, and the goal is to solve a whole deck of cards (10 hands) in the shortest time possible! This is totally a game changer in the educational action card game landscape. The stunning graphics and user experience design are of course made by our genius interaction designer Mia.

Now available on the App Store for next to nothing (99 cents)!

This time we have teamed up with the amazing Phyx developers to make an Android version which is still in development.

Instaframe

Woot! I just realized I never announced our new iPad app here on the blawgh (but it’s been linked from our main page so you may have seen it anyway). It was released about a month ago and is available for $1.99 on the App Store!

The app is called Instaframe, and it’s a digital photo frame for your iPad that show pictures uploaded with the popular iPhone app Instagram. The app uses the Instagram API but is not endorsed or certified by Instagram.

The way it works is that you can configure it to show pictures from your feed, your own pictures, the popular feed or the latest pictures taken near your current location. The last one is the default and it’s a pretty cool way to see some pics of your city and see what’s up (all through the lens of hipster-friendly retro filters). E.g. today, if you live in Gothenburg, Sweden as we do, you would see that 100% of all local Instagram users are currently documenting “Andra långdagen” (a street festival at Andra långgatan)

Watch out for more news about new apps coming soon!

How Not to Disable In-App Purchases for Your Live App

Finally! The holy grail of iOS development blawghs. A legitimate reason to rail against Apple and their draconian practices.

During last week we had a problem with In-App Purchases for Warcode. Warcode is a free download on the App Store, and if you like it you can buy the full version from inside the game with the IAP API. But suddenly it had stopped working. By checking the console output from the device I could determine that it was the dreaded “Invalid product ID” error that everyone who tries to implement IAP has seen once or twice during development while trying to get everything to work (a process detailed in numerous other blog posts around the interwebs.) But I’ve never seen it in a live app on the App Store and that was a bit unsettling.

From a developer perspective, one of the main awesome things about the iTunes App Store is that it’s super easy for people who want to give you money to do that, and you don’t have to deal with handling transactions, you just get paid (potentially in dollar dollar bills, y’all*). The problem is when it’s not working it’s very hard for the people who want to give you money to do that, and that’s obviously a lose-lose-lose situation (both customer, us and Apple loses). So I have a hard time understanding why the IAP system is so easy to break.

Anyway on to the story. A bunch of things had happened that could somehow be related, like us just having renewed our Developer program membership and our Paid Apps contract having expired and we just resubmitted that and all sorts of stuff, so I made sure everything looked in order and everything had little green dots next to them in iTunes Connect. I also contacted Apple through some form, but I haven’t heard from them yet. So I waited and nothing seemed to happen, our sales figures were still a boring flat line.

Then I remembered something about the IAP system being very particular about which status your app is in in iTunes Connect. During development I had to submit unfinished apps to be able to test the IAP and then reject them so they didn’t reach the review team, a total mess obviously and also detailed in other blog posts about IAP. Obviously Warcode was in the Ready for Sale status, as it was up on the App Store… but I had created a new version on iTunes Connect.

I had written the update notes and updated the metadata, so everything was ready for our updated version (which we’re still working on), but it was in status “Ready for Upload”. I thought maybe that’s the culprit, let’s remove it temporarily to check. But no, sorry, you can’t remove new versions that you have created in iTunes Connect. But I was determined to check if this was the problem, so what I did was I uploaded a version with some bug fixes as the version 1.1 that I had created. This update does not contain all the updates we’re currently working on, it was taken from a bunch of revisions back in our version control system. But now the new version was in status “Waiting for Review.”

And voila! That was indeed the problem. Amazingly In-App Purchases now works in the version of Warcode that is on the App Store again (i.e. version 1.0, the version I uploaded as 1.1 is not reviewed yet.) So the lesson learned is: if your app uses In-App Purchases, don’t create a new version in iTunes Connect until the moment you’re ready to upload the new version as you will disable all IAP in the current version of your app.

It’s possible that this is documented in one of the guides you can download from Apple, but I hope this post can help someone in case there are other people like me (a bit too cool for school) out there.

* We’re in Europe, so actually it’s euro euro bills y’all.

Warcode on the App Store!

Hey everyone!

Warcode went live on the App Store yesterday as some of you may have noticed, and it’s been a huge success so far 🙂 Thanks everyone who have downloaded it and extra thanks to all who bought the full version.

The most frequent feedback we’re getting is 1) you want updated graphics and 2) there is still a bug with the game crashing after finishing a level, most likely only affecting iOS version 4.1. Also 3) you want the game to run on iPod touch, but unfortunately it doesn’t have an auto-focus camera and that makes the barcode scanning unusable :/

You’ll be happy to know we’re already planning for update 1.1 which will address both these points! Our graphical and interaction designer Mia has a bunch of ideas for refreshing the app’s interface and I have noticed a bunch of small bugs aside from the crashing that will be rectified. On the roadmap are also a greater assortment of warriors and equipment. Unfortunately I’ve caught the cold so I’m mostly lying around in bed making Fred Durst-like noises at the moment.

Our goal was to release a minimal viable product as early as possible and then iterate, and the version we have shipped works great for most people who are not still on an older version of the OS, so I’m happy about that! The feedback we have received from the launch has put us on a steady course and I really look forward to sharing the progress on the next version with you all!

I’m also stunned with the scores some people on the leaderboards are achieving, you guys are nuts.

Auf wiedersehen!

Warcode beta

Hey party peoplez and ’90s-hits-digging Java programmers!

We have decided to try out Test Flight for the Warcode beta program and it’s the future. It feels like 2011 has already brought everything I hoped from the new year. Bring on 2012.

Anyway, to sign up as a beta tester for Warcode and upcoming Önders et Gonas apps, just head over here! We would love to have your help and your input in forming the next generation of mobile convenience and awesomeness!

If the cutting edge is not for you, this at least means that the Warcode release is drawing near! Stay tuned for the official release and keep rawking!

PS. If you or anyone you know would like to translate Warcode to Japanese in exchange for beer, contact us. They love shit like this, just check out the earlier post about Barcode Battler.

WARCODE

Greetings friends!

We started promoting our new game’s landing page a few days ago at http://ondersetgonas.com/warcode/ but in case you missed it, the name of the game will be Warcode!

We also did a short presentation of the game and some of the technology we use at the local Mac/iPhone programming group Cocoaheads Göteborg. The presentation probably doesn’t make a lot of sense without the narration, but it probably didn’t make a lot of sense with it either so no loss. We uploaded the presentation anyway, enjoy:

Please note that the graphics that are visible in one of the slides are not done by the famous Mia Henriksson, this is just my crappy temporary stuff.

Also if you’d like to beta test the software before we launch or just be notified as soon as we do launch, follow us on twitter or sign up on the Warcode page!

I’ll try and post some updates on the progress here on the blog and on Twitter (@ondersetgonas) so stay tuned homeboyz!

Teaser: New iPhone Game

Finally time to spill the beans to our loyal fans here on the blawgh! We’re currently wireframing and coding our latest app, which will be an iPhone game inspired by the 1991 classic, the game console Barcode Battler (check out this review if you haven’t heard of it).

I used to have one of those and while it sucked gameplay-wise, the idea was so much greater than the implementation and has been a source of inspiration for me ever since. It opened my eyes and made me understand that all those coded messages all around us can mean whatever we want, and our mission is to provide the means to interpret them in the most awesome way, by turning them into brutal warriors to fight epic battles in the vast deserts of what we today know is called cyberspace.

The app uses the iPhone’s camera to scan barcodes and is the first attempted game by Önders et Gonas, so we’re boldly going where we haven’t really been before a lot. Gonas is an avid gamer of course, and previous titles in his solo career include gems such as RotG, RotG 2, and the Duke Nukem Forever-esque vaporware “RotG 3D”.

This is also the first time we work with an external designer on an in-house project, the insanely talented interface design expert Mia Henriksson.

Watch this space and follow us on Twitter for the latest updates and info about an upcoming beta testing program, and of course the App Store release!

We are looking for any feedback, ideas, reactions or anything! Tell us what’s on your mind in the comments or via Twitter or email us!

As you may have noticed I also just updated the theme here on the Tap Gun blog. The new life!

Update: Holy shit, I’ve been stuck for hours now exploring the Barcode Battler related videos uploaded to YouTube. Try this one for size. This is a gold mine of bizarro.